DHS Delays Ending Obama-era Outsourcing Program for 100,000 Jobs

The Department of Homeland Security has delayed plans to end the H-4 outsourcing program which has given work permits to 100,000 spouses of imported white-collar guest workers since 2015. But the delay is being used to hide a much bigger problem, said lawyer John Miano, who represents a group of white-collar professionals who have been sidelined by the agency’s several white-collar outsourcing programs.The hidden problem is the lawyers’ little-noticed claim that a federal law — 1324a — entitles it to grant work-permits to an unlimited number of foreigners, regardless of the harmful impact on Americans, he said. When the agency lawyers are asked to justify the 1324a claim, “they keep on asking for delay and delay” said Miano, even though they tell other judges that “the president can do whatever he wants on immigration and that Congress does not control immigration at all.” The 1324a claim is politically risky for President Donald Trump because it complicates his efforts to shut down the huge DACA program, which has provided work permits to more than 680,000 illegals, Miano said. Moreover, Trump’s Inauguration Day promise of a “Buy American, Hire American” policy is undermined by his own deputies’ determination to preserve the 1324a outsourcing programs — even as the 2018 elections draw closer. The lawyers’ 1324a claim helps the anti-Trump, pro-amnesty lawyers who are trying to preserve the DACA program. On February 13, a New York judge blocked officials from ending DACA, in part, because of the 1324a claim. On February 26, a California judge said the administration cannot withdraw work-permits from DACA illegals without a formal process. More importantly, the 1324a claim is on thin ice — and so are the outsourcing programs — because Texas’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the 1324a claim in November 2015, saying: Continue Reading

Plan to end work permits for spouses of skilled visa workers leaves Minnesota families in limbo

Neeharika Bhashyam got a surprising break from the U.S. government almost three years ago: The Obama administration gave the native of India and other spouses of foreign professionals permission to work. Bhashyam landed a job as a dental assistant and enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s school of dentistry. Now the Trump administration is gearing up to scrap the work permits for spouses of skilled workers in the final stage of the green card application process — part of a harder line on the controversial H-1B visa program Trump has championed. Given the president’s “Hire American” creed, the administration will also dodge the awkward task of defending the Obama permits against a court challenge by a group of IT workers who lost their jobs to H-1B hires. Bhashyam faces graduating with $300,000 in debt and murky prospects for putting her degree to use. She and others say families made key life decisions based the ability to work while their spouses are stuck in green card backlogs, mainly for workers from India and to a lesser extent China. They have launched a long-shot campaign to prevent the change. “Sometimes I think, ‘What is the point of pursuing dentistry if I can’t work?’ ” Bhashyam said. “But it’s my dream to be a dentist.” The H-1B program’s critics, who say some employers abuse it to import cheaper and more pliable labor, have cheered Trump’s tougher approach as a bid to protect American workers. Immigrant advocates see the plan to take away H-1B spouses’ work permits as the latest salvo in a broader push toward curtailing legal immigration that they say will turn off global talent. “We are going to lose the best and the brightest to other places,” said Laura Danielson, immigration attorney at Fredrikson & Byron. To work or not to work Bhashyam arrived in the Twin Cities in 2014 to join her new husband, Chaitanya Polumetla, a Continue Reading

Southern California military veterans with disabilities find work, renewed purpose — thanks to one of their own

By Theresa Walker | [email protected] | Orange County RegisterPUBLISHED: January 28, 2018 at 10:31 am | UPDATED: January 28, 2018 at 10:33 am About a dozen men and women with backpacks slung over their shoulders and notebooks in their hands file past Bill Morisette. They look like college students. Maybe someday they will be. Right now, they are looking for work. As military veterans with disabilities that range from mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder to physical impairments that include traumatic brain injuries, employment isn’t all that easy to get. But Morisette makes a confident prediction about their workplace futures as he watches them head into a room at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin: “Ninety percent of these guys will be placed.” Bill Morisette recalls how PTSD reared its ugly head. The Tierney Center for Veteran Services’ vocational rehabilitation program manager notes that work is central to his life and the lives of the veterans who visit the Tustin center, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)Army veteran Bill Morisette chose these two images to hang in his office at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin.. The one on right is from the same company his cousin served in. Morisette is the vocational rehabilitation program manager at Tierney Center. Photographed on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Photo by Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG)Good Sport. Bill Morisette’s golden retriever, Sport, helped him re-enter the world while battling PTSD. The Army veteran used to take the canine everywhere. Morisette is the vocational rehabilitation program manager at Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin. Photographed on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Bill Morisette)Kudos from management line Bill Morisette’s desk at the Tierney Center for Veteran Services in Tustin. He suffered a traumatic brain injury while Continue Reading

UAW vows to fight outsourcing of truck drivers by FCA

Share Tweet Share Email Comments Print UAW leaders said they will fight a decision by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to close a Toledo transportation terminal and outsource the work of 88 union truck drivers who keep the local Jeep assembly plant supplied with parts. Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, which represents transportation unit workers, said closing the terminal violates anti-outsourcing clauses in its contract with the automaker. But more importantly, it violates a labor peace the union and Chrysler have worked hard to keep intact the last 30 years. Mr. Baumhower said local union leaders were never told of the decision until October when the closing was put into motion. When they met with Chrysler officials late last year they were told it was a “done deal” and the work had been awarded to an outside trucking firm. Sixteen terminal workers received pink slips Monday. The Local 12 president said all of Jeep is angry and if there are no negotiations, which the union feels are legally required, there will be consequences for the automaker. “They’ve reverted back to the old ways they did business,” Mr. Baumhower said. “I don’t think they want us to revert to the old ways we did business.” Related Items jeepUAW Local 12Bruce BaumhowerFiat Chrysler Automobiles Click to comment Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ. Continue Reading

As Escondido prepares to outsource its library, another city drops firm

Less than a week before Escondido is scheduled to transfer management of its public library to a private company, a city 140 miles to the north is doing the opposite by opting to end its contract with the same Maryland-based firm. Meanwhile, a request for a temporary restraining order to block the company’s contract from beginning next week was denied Thursday by a Vista Superior Court judge. Santa Clarita Deputy City Manager Darren Hernandez said that city of 225,000 people went with Library Systems & Services LLC in 2011 when it switched from the Los Angeles County library system to a city one. “For the first four years of our contract, we were happy with the progress we were making,” Hernandez said. “After that, we began to see more issues.” He said all 17 full-time librarian positions in the Santa Clarita library system have turned over since the contract went into effect and just a few months ago five positions were vacant, including two of the three branch manager spots. He said all the librarians, except one who retired, left for mostly lateral positions in other cities for better pay and benefits. He also said in the past several years the number of patrons served at the Santa Clarita branches has dropped dramatically and that LS&S management has been slow to respond to city complaints. “In this last year, morale has gotten so bad that it became a downward spiral,” he said. “There have been a lot vacancies and staffing shortages.” Calls to LS&S Chief Operating Officer Todd Frager were not returned. The Santa Clarita City Council voted unanimously not to renew the contract with the company effective this summer. Hernandez said Escondido never contacted Santa Clarita for a reference. Interestingly, however, on Escondido’s website, one of about a dozen reference letters endorsing LS&S was written last August by the Santa Clarita City Librarian Matthew Hortt, who is an employee of the Continue Reading

Legal automation spells relief for lower-income Americans, hard times for lawyers

“Here’s the dirty little secret about automation: it’s easier to build a robot to replace a junior attorney than to replace a journeyman electrician.”That’s Mark Mills, noting that it’s white-collar jobs that may be the next casualties of automation. “Instead of creative destruction coming to factories and farms, it’s sweeping through city centers and taking white-collar jobs.” White-collar workers used to think they were safe from automation while lesser breeds suffered unemployment. But now they’re on the front lines.That’s certainly the case with lawyers, who are being replaced by software, by paraprofessionals, and sometimes even by outsourcing to third world nations. And that’s bad news since lawyers’ income and employment prospects have been largely stagnant (or worse) for decades. But, as with automation in other areas, it may be good news for the consumers of legal services, even as it makes things worse for the producers. More: A clinical trial saved my life. It could save yours, too. More: Donald Trump has a sickening fetish for cruelty That’s the central thesis of Rebooting Justice:  More Technology, Fewer Lawyers, and the Future of Law, a book by my University of Tennessee colleague Benjamin Barton, together with the University of Pennsylvania’s Stephanos Bibas. Their thesis: The very things that are making life worse for lawyers and law firms may pay off for lower- and middle-income Americans by finally making legal services affordable.Both authors are distinguished professors with extensive experience in legal practice, and in particular in serving lower-income Americans. And if you’re a lower-income American (and in this context, lower-income doesn’t mean all that low) paying a lawyer to represent you in a criminal or civil matter, or even to fight a parking ticket or prepare a will, is a major Continue Reading

Day: ’11th hour’ legal opinion forced budget cuts

Rockland County Executive Ed Day didn't plan to eliminate all funding for county nonprofit agencies or the Sheriff's patrols in his 2015 proposed budget.But a legal opinion "in the 11th hour" forced him to cut nearly $10 million in spending and target the revenue to comply with a 2012 county law, he said.Several legislators dispute the claim and say they made Day and his staff aware months ago of the requirements of the Deficit Reduction Act — a law he voted for.The situation has further divided the two branches and led the Legislature's chairman, Alden Wolfe, to call Day a liar during a special budget session Thursday."I'm not afraid to call the county executive a liar," Wolfe said. "I'm not. Because when you came up with a $10 million surprise and you used that to avoid answering the question, why did you do what you did, then you are lying to the public."Day responded to Wolfe's accusation Friday."I think using language like that in a public forum by an elected official, I think that speaks more about his character than anything else," Day said.He also defended his budget decisions."The county attorney opined and that's what we went by," Day said. "I was under the opinion that the law was moot."Day's proposed $772 million 2015 county budget eliminates 111 jobs to cut expenses by about $6.8 million, including the entire Sheriff's Patrol, a total of 37 positions.Sheriff Louis Falco has blasted the cuts and says due to civil service bumping rights, they decimate the entire police division, including the bomb squad, arson unit and other specialties.Day cited a report by a former NYPD top cop as backup for his proposed cuts, but the report, reviewed by The Journal News, calls for bolstering the Road Patrol, not cutting it.Another 33 jobs in security, hospital radiology, laundry and the Department of Social Services' Managed Care Unit would be outsourced under Day's plan and the county workers laid off. An additional 41 jobs across departments would also be Continue Reading

JCPS board approves Hargens’ district shakeup

The Jefferson County Board of Education on Monday approved Superintendent Donna Hargens' plan for a shakeup in the organization of the state's largest school district.Key in the changes approved Monday were the outsourcing of the district's legal services department and the creation of a Chief Business Officer position who would oversee the finance and human resources departments.The outsourcing of the legal services department, in particular, drew questions and a divided vote from board members."I have not understood what problem we were trying to fix," board member Linda Duncan said.Hargens said that, when she worked in the 155,000-student Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina, that district had outside legal counsel, and that it worked well. She said the change would allow more attorneys to have depth of knowledge of JCPS' issues and would "build capacity for the future." She said her planned change would enable schools to have quicker access to attorneys than they have now.Board chairman David Jones Jr. said Hargens was hired to handle this "uncomfortable corporate reorganization stuff" and that the board should "let the people do the jobs that you hired them to do and then hold them to account."But board member Chris Brady retorted that "if our job is to take her word for it ... then everything's a rubber stamp. And that's not something I can get behind."The board voted 4-2, with Duncan and Brady dissenting and board member Chuck Haddaway not in attendance, to outsource the legal department.General Counsel Rosemary Miller will retire Aug. 1; the other three positions in the office will be eliminated July 1. The move will save about $500,000 in salaries and benefits, the district said, although it's unclear how much it will cost to move to the outside counsel model.Outsourcing legal work to outside law firms is common in small school districts with limited budgets, but larger school districts tend to favor in-house counsel, said Mort Sherman with the Continue Reading

JCPS board chooses outside legal firms

Jefferson County Public Schools on Monday took its next move in outsourcing its legal services department.The school board on Monday evening approved the choice of two law firms that will do the bulk of the legal services for the state's largest school district.Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP will handle most of the general counsel duties, getting paid a $3,000/month retainer to handle questions from district staff and other issues.JCPS has long worked with that law firm on a number of different issues, including in past legal fights over whether JCPS can decide where to assign its students.Wyatt will also be able to charge hourly fees for more in-depth projects it's handed on human resources issues, employee relations and negotiations issues and facilities questions.Work done by partner attorneys on those issues can be charged to the district at $190 an hour, while work done by associate attorneys will cost $175 an hour and work done by paralegals will be charged at $70 an hour, according to a document showing the results of the competitive negotiation for legal services. READ MORE | See the document of all the firms who bid and how much Meanwhile, law firm Middleton Reutlinger also will take on some of the bigger cases related to human resources, employee relations, facilities and special education. JCPS also has a prior relationship with lawyers from this firm.Middleton will also charge $190 an hour for work done by partner attorneys, and it will charge $170 an hour for work done by associate attorneys and $110 for paralegal work.JCPS spokesman Justin Willis said that Wyatt's retainer will cover most calls from schools or basic questions, while the hourly work will be used for trial cases or bigger issues.He said the two law firms overlap on some subjects to ensure adequate coverage in all areas. For instance, if one law firm is already representing a client on the other side of a dispute, the other law firm can take up JCPS' cause, Willis said.Willis said JCPS Continue Reading

Web of questions arises about DOE contractors charging taxpayers for outsourced programmers

A major technology contractor for the Future Technology Associates paid a Turkish company $3.4 million from 2006 to 2009 to supply 12 programmers from Turkey, The Turkish firm, Krono Bilgisayar, is owned by the same two men who run Future Technology, records show. Those execs, Tamer Sevintuna and Condon's probe has been underway for more than year. It first came to light last month, when lawyers for Sevintuna and Krohe persuaded a In an affidavit, Condon deputy Investigators also want to know if FTA's overseas workers, who had daily access to the school system's computer network, were properly vetted. FTA has received nearly $100 million in DOE contracts since 2005. From the 10th floor of a DOE building on Court St. in The firm bills up to $300,000 a year for each consultant. Probers say many of those workers were supplied to FTA by a handful of middleman subcontractors in the "Our contract prohibits subcontracting without DOE permission, and we never gave FTA permission," DOE spokeswoman FTA lawyer "These companies such as Krono [the Turkish firm] are not subcontractors, but rather an employment agency [that] provided temporary consultants," Walden said in a written response to questions from the Daily News. DOE officials who supervised FTA are well aware that some consultants worked in Turkey and India, Walden said, largely because of the shortage of qualified programmers in the U.S. Walden accused Condon's office of "harassing" a minority-owned company - Sevintuna is a Turkish national - that provides quality service at a low cost. Another firm FTA relied on for programmers was Records show Mera was established in 2008. Its sole owner was Jon Krohe - one of FTA's two executives. Mera listed its headquarters as a mail drop in the same Jacksonville UPS store where FTA was headquartered. Mera stationery listed the same phone and fax number as FTA. Despite the firms' close connection, Krohe did not include Mera on the Continue Reading